In the week ended April 1st, prime prices for hoggs although reported a slight decrease have remained 30% above year earlier levels, according to Quality Meat Scotland.
“Auction market throughputs through March have been well above last years levels, while the UK weekly slaughter of prime sheep has been running well ahead of last year throughout January and February,” said Quality Meat Scotland’s Director of Economics Services.
“So despite strong supplies of hogs, farmgate prices have strengthened suggesting a basic strength in demand,” he added.
According to QMS, high farmgate hog prices were reported not only in Scotland but also in Ireland, France, and Spain, where they were 15-20% higher compared to the previous year. QMS says that this suggests a general firmness in the market place across Europe.
Kantar Worldpanel analysis of UK retail sales reveals that for a number of years the volume of lamb sold in the four-week period including Easter can be double the levels of the month before and the month after.
“All of that growth in sales is put down to purchases of leg roasting joints, which can leave processors with a major challenge to sell the remaining cuts from a lamb carcase when demand for leg roasts is so high,” said Mr Ashworth.
“Nevertheless, to meet orders, demand for slaughter stock inevitably increases,” he added.